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FReeper Book Club: Atlas Shrugged, By Our Love
A Publius Essay | 16 May 2009 | Publius

Posted on 05/16/2009 7:40:33 AM PDT by Publius

Part II: Either-Or

Chapter VIII: By Our Love

Synopsis

Dagny spends her time at the cabin in the Berkshires depressurizing, but also building a footpath because she can’t relax. On occasion she drives into Woodstock, an isolated and depressing hamlet. Finding that kerosene is not available because of a road washout, she asks why the road is never fixed. “It’s always been that way,” is the response. She can’t take her mind off what may be happening back in the world, and she yearns for Hank.

Then Francisco shows up unannounced, and Dagny could swear he’s whistling the theme from Halley’s Fifth Concerto. Francisco takes Dagny in his arms and kisses her, but Dagny backs off. Francisco tells her that he can now explain everything. He should have intercepted her when she quit and spared her the past month in seclusion.

Dagny wishes that The Destroyer had come for her, and she was surprised that he didn’t; now she thinks he doesn’t exist. Francisco reminds her of that night, twelve years ago, when he warned her in agony about what was going to happen that he couldn’t talk about; that was the night he gave up d’Anconia Copper. Now he is destroying it to keep it from the looters, but in such a way that they cannot detect it and seize it to stop him. He was the first of the industrialists to quit, but he stayed in place. The worst part was what he knew it did to Dagny.

He and Dagny charged too little for their accomplishments, and their error went all the way back to Sebasian d’Anconia and Nat Taggart, who created the wealth of the world, but let their enemies write the moral code. He and Dagny lived by their own standards but paid ransom to the looters to survive. Dagny perceives, and just as the recruitment of Dagny Taggart by Francisco d’Anconia approaches a successful consummation, the radio broadcast of a symphony is interrupted by a news bulletin about a train wreck in the tunnel in Colorado. All of Francisco’s hard work retreats into insignificance as the horror hits Dagny with full force.

As we left the Comet in the last chapter, it had entered the tunnel pulled by a coal burning steam locomotive. Three miles into the eight mile bore, the crew felt the effect of the fumes, and the engineer, that alcoholic friend of Fred Kinnan, threw the throttle wide open to gain enough speed to surmount the heavy grade. As the passengers felt the effect of the fumes, one panicked and pulled the emergency stop cord, breaking the locomotive’s air hose and stopping the train almost midway through the tunnel. The fireman fled through the tube, reaching the western portal when he was flattened by the blast of a explosion behind him. Apparently, the Army munitions train had been cleared to proceed because the tunnel’s signaling system was defective, and it plowed into the Comet, setting off an explosion that demolished the tunnel and most of the mountain with it.

Dagny screams and flees, and Francisco begs her not to go back, but to no avail.

Jim Taggart stares at the letter of resignation he hopes to avoid signing. Clifton Locey is hiding behind his doctor’s statement that he has a heart condition, and most company officers are playing hooky. Jim decides to hide in his office; even Wesley Mouch knows better than to call him.

But finally galvanized into action, Jim accosts Eddie Willers and demands to know where Dagny is; Eddie won’t answer. Jim tries to intimidate Eddie, accusing him of treason, but Eddie won’t budge. Then Dagny walks in. Jim screams that the disaster is all her fault, but Dagny ignores him and gives orders to Eddie. She quickly discovers that key personnel on the railroad have quit and disappeared. While Jim slinks off to shred his letter of resignation, Dagny asks what has been done since the disaster. Nothing, says Eddie, because the first person to act would have set himself up for the Unification Board. The entire Taggart system is in chaos.

Dagny opens up a rail map and tells Eddie to route trains over the tracks of other railroads, even to buy abandoned railroads and put them back into service. To fill gaps in the map, she tells Eddie to hire local crews to build new rail lines; bribe the Unification Board goons if necessary. Then she tells him to get the pre-tunnel system map out of the archives to see how they can reclaim the old route through the Rockies.

Eddie updates Dagny: Hank has signed the Gift Certificate, Quentin Daniels hasn’t been heard from, and trains have been abandoned on the system with the crews disappearing into the night.

Wesley Mouch calls Dagny, making the official excuse that her health was the reason for her absence. She sloughs Mouch off and demands to talk to Clem Weatherby. She tells the rail czar that Mouch is never to call her again; she will deal exclusively with him. Weatherby balks until he realizes that Dagny is handing him preferment, the right to use her as an item of “pull”. She tells him that she is going to start breaking laws immediately, and Weatherby tells her the laws are certainly flexible in such a situation. Finishing the call, she looks at Clifton Locey’s collection of liberal magazines and sweeps them off the coffee table in one stroke.

After giving the orders that will put the railroad back in working order, Dagny calls Hank. He tells her to start handing out bribes so that he can pour the steel – any kind of steel – to make her railroad whole again. He agrees to come over that night.

Railroads, Eminent Domain and Reciprocal Use

During the 19th Century, many states granted railroads the right of eminent domain. Railroads used that provision to claim the land for rail lines just as states used eminent domain to build highways. The provision was last used wholesale during the Twenties when America saw its last great period of railroad building.

Railroads often purchase trackage rights from other railroads to gain access to certain areas. In the event of an emergency, railroads are also quick to grant competitors the rights to their track because one day the shoe may be on the other foot. These emergency rights will be paid for, as will diesel fuel consumed at the host railroad’s depots.

The railroad world has changed since the book was published. Back then it was rare to see the locomotive of one railroad running on a different railroad unless there was an agreement or an emergency. In the 21st Century, however, high priority freight trains changing domain at Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans change crews but not locomotives. For high priority freights time lost at a rail yard is money; that is why it is now common to see locomotives in Union Pacific livery popping up in New York and vice versa.

Discussion Topics

Next Saturday: The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Free Republic; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: freeperbookclub
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1 posted on 05/16/2009 7:40:33 AM PDT by Publius
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To: ADemocratNoMore; Aggie Mama; alarm rider; alexander_busek; AlligatorEyes; AmericanGirlRising; ...
FReeper Book Club

Atlas Shrugged

Part II: Either-Or

Chapter VIII: By Our Love

Ping! The thread is up.

Prior threads:
FReeper Book Club: Introduction to Atlas Shrugged
Part I, Chapter I: The Theme
Part I, Chapter II: The Chain
Part I, Chapter III: The Top and the Bottom
Part I, Chapter IV: The Immovable Movers
Part I, Chapter V: The Climax of the d’Anconias
Part I, Chapter VI: The Non-Commercial
Part I, Chapter VII: The Exploiters and the Exploited
Part I, Chapter VIII: The John Galt Line
Part I, Chapter IX: The Sacred and the Profane
Part I, Chapter X: Wyatt’s Torch
Part II, Chapter I: The Man Who Belonged on Earth
Part II, Chapter II: The Aristocracy of Pull
Part II, Chapter III: White Blackmail
Part II, Chapter IV: The Sanction of the Victim
Part II, Chapter V: Account Overdrawn
Part II, Chapter VI: Miracle Metal
Part II, Chapter VII: The Moratorium on Brains

2 posted on 05/16/2009 7:41:35 AM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Publius

“Where are Third World standards encroaching on our current infrastructure? “

Bridges.


3 posted on 05/16/2009 7:49:31 AM PDT by patton (Oligarchy is an absorbing state in the Markov process we find ourselves in. Sigh.)
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To: patton
Bridges? Good. Let's think about tunnels, like the Big Dig in Boston, too.

There are stretches of plain, old highway in some states where you might think you were driving in Honduras.

4 posted on 05/16/2009 7:51:36 AM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Publius

Good point - actually, anything touched by the various DOTs. The PA Turnpike was the 1st interstate built in the US - and, largely due to corruption, it is still not finished.


5 posted on 05/16/2009 7:55:08 AM PDT by patton (Oligarchy is an absorbing state in the Markov process we find ourselves in. Sigh.)
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To: Publius

This is one of the things that makes 2009 America different from, say, 1936 Germany, or 1917 Russia.

Our civilization and economy depends, every second of every day, on a vast network of very sophisticated machines and collaborative arrangements between human beings. The real-time responsiveness of this network is extremely fast, thousands of times faster than that of the networks that made life bearable in Germany and Russia.

Barack Obortion’s efforts, and those of his minions, to tear down, corrupt, usurp, pervert, and attenuate these systems will have very widespread effects that will be felt quickly.

The Nazis and the Bolsheviks benefited from the much slower response of the systems in which they operated. They were able to seize control before the consequences could be seen or acted on by ordinary people.

There are millions of highly educated technocrats in America on whom the systemm depends in real-time, or near real-time. These are people who are trained to deal with reality in an honest and open-eyed way. People of this type will be among the first to be discouraged as Obortion tightens things up. As they stop doing their jobs, stop giving it their all, the consequences will be cumulative.


6 posted on 05/16/2009 7:58:17 AM PDT by Steely Tom (RKBA: last line of defense against vote fraud)
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To: patton
But think beyond DOT's to private enterprise. Whether it is Honduras or even Israel, Third World standards go beyond government until they become part of a nation's fabric. Do you remember that spate of construction cranes falling down and collapsing over the past year or so? Do you recall building sites under construction falling down for no reason?

Third World standards, once introduced and not extirpated, spread like a communicable disease.

7 posted on 05/16/2009 8:00:27 AM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Steely Tom
Our civilization and economy depends, every second of every day, on a vast network of very sophisticated machines and collaborative arrangements between human beings.

Good observation. In about five weeks, we will see how a single strand of copper wire, once sundered, creates chaos.

8 posted on 05/16/2009 8:02:40 AM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius

A crane inspector in NYC was charged with accepting bribes, as I recall.


9 posted on 05/16/2009 8:10:56 AM PDT by patton (Oligarchy is an absorbing state in the Markov process we find ourselves in. Sigh.)
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To: patton
In sunny Mexico, it is known as la mordida, ie., "the bite". Used sparingly, it is the grease that permits things to get done when bureaucratic inertia gets in the way.

But once it becomes a way of life, you get Third World disasters like that happening in the First World.

10 posted on 05/16/2009 8:14:00 AM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius
Bttt.

5.56mm

11 posted on 05/16/2009 8:19:45 AM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: Publius

Look what is looming with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Everyone with some basic education in mathematics can see what is a few years out. But, the politicians say there is no real problem and government would be the solution if there were a problem. Reminds me of when Barney Frank stated that there is no problem with Fannie and Freddie about a year ago. Look at what a mess the government education system is in. And to think the government wants to run health care too.


12 posted on 05/16/2009 8:41:40 AM PDT by MtnClimber (Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme looks remarkably similar to the way Social Security works)
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To: MtnClimber
Everyone with some basic education in mathematics can see what is a few years out. But, the politicians say there is no real problem and government would be the solution if there were a problem.

There is no problem -- if you're willing to live with marginal tax rates of 85%. But then there goes your economy. The smart people flee to another country -- until America seals the borders and levies an exit tax like the old Soviet Union.

13 posted on 05/16/2009 9:01:41 AM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius

>>There are stretches of plain, old highway in some states where you might think you were driving in Honduras.

I still recall the first time I drove on US 101 in Silicon Valley, from Pacheco Pass up to Mtn View, right through San Jose, Santa Clara, past some of the biggest names in high tech. I thought I had a flat tire. thump-thump-thump as I went over each concrete seam on the roadway, my car taking a beating. That was in 1999 and by the time I left in 2006 it was still the same.

The airport there didn’t have jetways for one of their terminals, so when I flew out we had to go on the tarmac and up the gangway. I thought I was flying out of San Jose CA, not San Jose Costa Rica, WTH Mickey-Mouse operation is this?

This in the high tech capital of the world.


14 posted on 05/16/2009 9:09:54 AM PDT by Betis70 (Keep working serf, Zero's in charge)
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To: Publius

>> Third World standards, once introduced and not extirpated, spread like a communicable disease.

I find Third World standards in some of the highest-tech things, which is a recipe for disaster.

A couple of examples -

a) Air travel. I can’t tell you how many flights I’ve had delayed or cancelled because of a mechanical problem on the plane. Of course, most of the time those are on Airbus’, but I digress. First, I’m glad somebody found the problem before we got in the air. But, why are we having mechanical problems on the first flight of the day when it should have been checked out the night before? Why are we piling everyone onto the plane, then bringing somebody in to fix the problem, instead of getting it right before we board? The bottom line seems to be that there are rules being followed which have nothing to do with what is in the best interests of the customer.

2) Consulting. I am an IT consultant-type and have been for some time. Early on, I was told that in our company we “give the customer the advice that is best for them whether or not in was in our best interests.” I followed that advice once and had a lot of problems with my immediate supervisor. :-) I see way too often the situation where consulting advice is provided which results in more business, whether or not that is good long-term for the customer.

This then wraps back on itself when the customer doesn’t have the funds to provide maintenance on basics because they’ve bought what was sold to them.


15 posted on 05/16/2009 9:44:17 AM PDT by tstarr
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To: patton

“Where are Third World standards encroaching on our current infrastructure? “

“ETHICS”


16 posted on 05/16/2009 10:08:09 AM PDT by George Smiley (They're not drinking the Kool-Aid any more. They're eating it straight out of the packet.)
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To: George Smiley

That is not new. How many members of congress have wives on the payroll of some industry that they regulate?


17 posted on 05/16/2009 10:13:45 AM PDT by patton (Oligarchy is an absorbing state in the Markov process we find ourselves in. Sigh.)
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To: Publius
There is a stretch of highway running from the airport in Panama, Central America, to Panama City that is owned by a Mexican company running parallel to the gov. highway. It is a toll road and very well maintained. The taxi driver encourages you to take that road even if it costs you more because it doesn't beat up his car as bad as the regular road. My guy even gave me a little break on the fare to encourage me. And we made it in record time.

What's that line at the end of Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way".

18 posted on 05/16/2009 10:14:28 AM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: Steely Tom
There are millions of highly educated technocrats in America on whom the systemm depends in real-time, or near real-time. These are people who are trained to deal with reality in an honest and open-eyed way. People of this type will be among the first to be discouraged as Obortion tightens things up. As they stop doing their jobs, stop giving it their all, the consequences will be cumulative.

Sounds like the plot line for the History Channel's show "Life After People".

19 posted on 05/16/2009 10:14:46 AM PDT by Fast Moving Angel (GOP: Stop listening, start doing -- we need new leaders!)
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To: mick

Now, how much would you like to bet, that the mexican toll road company is slipping a little graft to a government official, to make sure that the public highway is not maintained?


20 posted on 05/16/2009 10:18:29 AM PDT by patton (Oligarchy is an absorbing state in the Markov process we find ourselves in. Sigh.)
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To: patton

LOL. Yea, I guess. But it is pretty !!


21 posted on 05/16/2009 10:20:32 AM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: George Smiley

Nice. Very good. The rule of law is diminishing, and we are becoming a banana republic.


22 posted on 05/16/2009 11:02:10 AM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius

I remember being surprised by that. As an immig. from the third world (no capitals to glorify it, thanks), this kind of thing weirds me out. But I’d forgotten it, and now I’m terrified.

What happens next, after the spread? Can it burn itself out leaving the strongest survivors?


23 posted on 05/16/2009 11:07:19 AM PDT by definitelynotaliberal
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To: Publius

Where is there to flee to?!


24 posted on 05/16/2009 11:09:12 AM PDT by definitelynotaliberal
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To: patton

The Schumers are more sophisticated than that. He’s in the Senate and she controls MTA in NY.


25 posted on 05/16/2009 11:11:32 AM PDT by definitelynotaliberal
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To: definitelynotaliberal

I did not know that. Wasn’t Daschle’s wife a lobbyist, in effect paid to lobby him?

In an honest language, the would be called a “hooker...”


26 posted on 05/16/2009 11:13:55 AM PDT by patton (Oligarchy is an absorbing state in the Markov process we find ourselves in. Sigh.)
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To: Publius
Howdy Pub’!

Chapter 18, “By Our Love,” is a very short chapter, one of the shortest in the novel (the next one, 19, is even shorter), and in it Rand intends to isolate one issue and address it with one crisis of conscience. She has certainly made her point by now concerning the abuse of the producers by the looters, of the achievers by the leeches, so much so that the reader is probably wondering why the whole system hasn’t already collapsed. Why do the victims persist? Why can’t they let it go? Why hasn’t everyone simply gone Galt, done a Danagger, slipped into seclusion and let the whole rotten edifice fall down? They are held in harness by love; by, as a previous chapter title has suggested, a form of white blackmail. Love of what? That’s the question we’ll explore in this chapter.

Dagny has finally had enough. Directive 10-289, the “moratorium on brains,” has sent her flying in disgust and revulsion to an old cabin in the wilderness where she can think it all out, a plot device going back at least four millennia wherein the author can speak to us through her protagonist’s internal dialogue. It isn’t any surprise that Dagny finds it impossible to turn her previous life off like a light switch. She is in the same frame of mind reported by many retirees from active working lives, feeling like a roaring engine whose load has suddenly been removed. Both engines and people can fly apart under those conditions.

She’s game about the whole attempt, though, building paths to assuage her relentless drive to build something, fighting the ennui of a shopkeeper by making the simple suggestion that she move her produce out of the sun. The latter is so worn down by it all that she answers bovinely, “It’s always been there.” It is what much of the world is becoming and Dagny doesn’t fit into that world at all and so she retreats to the cabin, where her old friend and lover Francisco arrives to comfort her. He knows the price of giving up what one loves (and will relearn it through the rest of the novel). Dagny is only now getting her first taste.

She wonders how he found her, and asks him if Eddie, the only person in whom she has confided her location, has told him. No, he hasn’t seen Eddie for more than a year, but Rand gives us a clue that something or someone is a go-between, for the chatterbox Eddie was, in fact, the only one who did know where she was.

Francisco at last admits openly what we have known all along:

“I am destroying d’Anconia Copper, consciously, deliberately, by plan and by my own hand.”

…and that he is doing it to prevent that remarkable achievement from helping to sustain the cosmic fraud that is the looters’ creed, as it has for a century and a half. Like Ellis Wyatt he intends to “leave it as I found it,” not as he personally found it but as his ancestor did. For the oil industry, whose tools are derricks and machine-tooled drills, that is the work of a few moments only. For the mining industry, whose tools are pick and shovel, it takes quite a bit more effort. Dagny is astonished to realize that the knowing destruction of what he most loves has become his life’s work.

To Dagny that is inconceivable, in the exact sense of the word. Builder that she is, it strikes her as profoundly immoral, a rejection of everything that man is.

But the work of building a path was a living sum, so that no day was left to die behind her, but each day contained all those that preceded it, each day acquired its immortality on every succeeding tomorrow. A circle, she thought, is the movement proper to physical nature…but the straight line is the badge of man, the straight line of a geometrical abstraction that makes roads, rails, and bridges, the straight line that cuts the curving aimlessness of nature by a purposeful motion from a start to an end.

Certain Gaia-worshippers of my acquaintance would shrink in horror from such blasphemy. And yet the straight line is not really an artifact of man, but his imitation of the horizon. The horizon isn’t perfectly straight, of course, either in terms of curvature or of granularity, but then neither are the lines made by men. In this man is one with his world whether he likes it or not.

The truly straight line is, as Dagny just said, an abstraction, an artifact not even of man’s mind if Immanuel Kant is to be believed, but an a priori concept that is one of the laws of the universe that form the foundation of Ayn Rand’s epistemology. It is there, but we can only imitate it in such worshipful constructions as a railroad track reaching toward the horizon. To Dagny that makes that track’s destruction, either deliberate or merely by allowing it to happen, an act of apostasy.

And this is why she is not yet ready despite Francisco’s hopeful overtures. One feels for the fellow – he has not only become such an apostate himself, but has given up the woman he loves in doing so. Does he hope to win her back now that the charade is known? For she is close, so very close to the realization that abnegation of all of this is the price that they must pay for the sin of selling it too cheaply.

“You, the heir of the d’Anconias…you’re turning your matchless ability to the job of destruction. And I – I’m playing with cobblestones and shingling a roof while a transcontinental railroad system is collapsing in the hands of congenital ward heelers. Yet you and I were the kind who determine the fate of the world. If this is what we let it come to, then it must have been our own guilt. But I can’t see the nature of our error.”

“We never demanded the one payment that the world owed us – and we let our best reward go to the worst of men…Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It’s a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We, the men of the mind…it was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world – but we let our enemies write its moral code. Your unrequited rectitude is the only hold they have upon you. They know it. You don’t. You won’t be free of them until you do. But when you do, you’ll reach such a stage of rightful anger that you’ll blast every rail of Taggart Transcontinental rather than let it serve them!”

“But to leave it to them!” she moaned. “To abandon it…when it’s…it’s almost like a living person…”

Her child by Hank Rearden, in fact, if we are to believe Lilian’s mocking. We should remember this cry later when we come to consider whether the act of abnegation does include living people. It is an extremely cruel choice, but if Francisco is to be believed the men of the mind brought it upon themselves.

She can’t do it. It is a good general rule that radios should not be left on during existential crises but hers was, and its siren sound is that of a newscaster informing the world of the Taggart Tunnel disaster.

Had the reserve diesel whose availability Dagny made her strictest rule not been reassigned to a political hack, the train would have made it through the tunnel. Pulled by an ancient coal-fired train belching poisonous fumes and struggling to make the grade at forty, the chances aren’t good, and once the choking passengers pull the emergency stop cord, there is no chance at all. One poor fireman manages to stagger out the other end of the tunnel before the oncoming ammunition train rear-ends the unfortunate Comet. Perhaps the passengers were all dead at that point, but the resulting explosion made sure of it and brought the mountain down around them. It is the greatest train disaster in history.

…she whirled to the door and ran. “Dagny!” he screamed. “Don’t go back! Dagny! In the name of anything sacred to you, don’t go back!”

But it is in the name of that which is sacred to Dagny that she does go back. And that is the premise that she has left unchecked.

It has been four weeks – 28 days since the declaration of Directive 10-289, and in that time yet another double handful of Dagny’s most crucial people have quit. Taggart is in a state of paralysis, with James’s resignation letter grinning at him from his desk. And she is back, their savior, as if there were anything left worth saving. This is not an act of sacrifice on Dagny’s part, it is an irresistible, existential moment. The situation is a challenge, a drug to an addict, the sound of guns to a warhorse not yet ready to be put to pasture. To give it up would be to give up not just Taggart Transcontinental, but herself. No wonder she can’t do it!

She calls Hank.

“I’m back.”

“I suppose I’d better start bribing people at once to get the ore to start pouring rail for you.”

“Hank, I don’t think they care whether there’s a train or a blast furnace left on earth. We do. They’re holding us by our love of it, and we’ll go on paying so long as there’s still one chance left to keep one single wheel alive…”

Precisely so. “By our love.” And so Rand has answered the question suggested by the chapter title. She should have stopped there.

“…when the flood swallows it we’ll go down with the last wheel and the last syllogism…”

Egad. The thud of that clunker hurts the ears, and unfortunately the chapter ends two sentences later so that it reverberates in our head like a lead weight falling down the basement stairs. The last what? If there’s one thing a high-test-fueled, ballbusting railroad executive isn’t going to be invoking with her world in flaming wreckage around her, it’s a syllogism. If the word even occurred to Dagny at that moment I’d have to reach for the straitjacket.

But it would to Rand the thinker. Here the author has so closely identified with her protagonist that there is no longer a filter of fiction between thought and utterance. Odd, really – Rand was a perfectly competent Hollywood scriptwriter – dialogue was second nature to her, but this one rings false. It’s just something to watch out for. When it happens, Dagny has lost her own voice and we lose Dagny.

And we don’t want to do that at this point, because we like her and she’s placed herself right back in the fray. Something she loves too much to give up is a chain that she’s put on herself, stronger than the one of Rearden Metal that she wears on her wrist, and her enemies hold the other end.

Have a great week, Publius!

27 posted on 05/16/2009 11:59:17 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: definitelynotaliberal

Ironically, China is freer than America. There is a problem with corruption, and politically you have to keep your mouth shut, but beyond that the tax bite is less.


28 posted on 05/16/2009 12:21:21 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius
Where are Third World standards encroaching on our current infrastructure?

The trucking industry is looking at competition with Mexican trucks and drivers within our borders, free trade y'know. I've seen the standards that are used south of the border and I want nothing to do with traveling on the same roads with those accidents looking for a place to happen.

29 posted on 05/16/2009 12:29:29 PM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: Publius

Without ethics, we’re toast.


30 posted on 05/16/2009 1:20:48 PM PDT by George Smiley (They're not drinking the Kool-Aid any more. They're eating it straight out of the packet.)
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To: Publius

In order for the physical world to fall into third world disarray, there first must be the fall of the minds of the people. The people, the movers and shakers of the society must fall from their ideals of work ethic, doing your best and the concept that what you produce is the representation of your self. People used to do their best work, not because their bosses required it, but because it provided a sense of satisfaction. In a rising society, the ambitious, highly motivated and talented rise to the top and the society flourishes. When ambition becomes a mockery and success is seen as proof “trampling the rights of the workers”, The society itself starts to spiral down.

Lets look at a segment of current society, black culture. It has become unpopular for black teens to do poor in school, to achieve, because it makes them look too “white,” Intellectual failure and mediocrity has become the cultural standard, the only acceptable fields of achievement is sports, music or crime. This guarantees limited success in the greater society, further marginalizing the culture, dooming most to the welfare culture.

A second facet is the rise of the union lackey. The strangulation of the major industries by the union culture is to blame for the attitude that it is not in our best interest to work hard and achieve, but to “make do. I worked in an environment many years ago where if you worked real hard and achieved, you stood out too much and became a target. Rising up the career ladder was the result of butt kissing and schmoozing, not achievement. This lays the groundwork for the culture of corruption, of “pull” that is in full bloom in AS.

If one looks at current third world nations today, many of them were former colonial societies. During occupation, they were built up to the technological standards of the day by the occupying force, most of them European. They worked by the old standard of doing your best. With liberation, came in those with marxist ideas came into the forefront. The culture of corruption, of “pull” became the standard of operation. When the culture of pull is the rule, those who strive to do their best see it for what it is and they “shrug” that society. It leaves the looters to destroy. Cuba, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Venezuela all come to mind. Where did the producers of those societies go? Mostly to the US.

This is probably the most I’ve commented on these threads, because I think I identified with Dagny during her self-imposed exile this past week. I have been on vacation for 3 weeks, mostly because I have too much PTO this year and need to use it or lose it. Due to circumstances, I had no real travel plans, so I used the time to do all sorts of home projects. I clean, sorted, painted, planted and improved all sorts of things around the house. I kinda worked harder at home then I frequently do at work. They idea of just sitting around watching TV? I’d go nuts. Thats the difference I guess between the producing class and the welfare class.


31 posted on 05/16/2009 1:46:34 PM PDT by gracie1 (visualize whirled peas)
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To: gracie1
Rising up the career ladder was the result of butt kissing and schmoozing, not achievement.

When I was told that promotions in the company in which I worked were based on politics, rather than achievement -- I retired. Best decision I ever made.

I have been on vacation for 3 weeks, mostly because I have too much PTO this year and need to use it or lose it. Due to circumstances, I had no real travel plans, so I used the time to do all sorts of home projects. I clean, sorted, painted, planted and improved all sorts of things around the house. I kinda worked harder at home then I frequently do at work. They idea of just sitting around watching TV? I’d go nuts.

That's when I turn to FR. In moments of doubt, I FReep.

32 posted on 05/16/2009 2:07:45 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius
When I was told that promotions in the company in which I worked were based on politics, rather than achievement -- I retired.

Publius, I'm surprised. You certainly haven't given the impression here that you would have had to be told about that type of advancement in your company.

Myself, well, I'll say that my first inkling of how the system works happened when I was still wet behind the ears. I was working for a large (really large) international company and had been accepted into a skilled trades apprenticeship due to start up within a few months. A lot can happen in a few months and in my case it was a surge of Vietnamese 'Boat People'. To make a short story shorter, I was bumped out of my position to become an apprentice so there would be an opening for the above mentioned. It truly was an eye opening experience at a young age and caused me to have a different perspective from that time on.

I want to mention for any of the 'Boat People' who happen to be reading this that I never blamed them that they were given preference because it wasn't their doing. The department head explained that the dictate came from Washington and had to be complied with, no questions asked.

First lesson learned at HKU.

33 posted on 05/16/2009 2:38:46 PM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: whodathunkit
You certainly haven't given the impression here that you would have had to be told about that type of advancement in your company.

There are times when I can be really dense.

34 posted on 05/16/2009 3:15:20 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius
There are times when I can be really dense.

After posting I thought the same of myself. I saw that the first line could be misinterpreted and I'll correct that now by stating that your posts reflect both an observant and perceptive mind thus my surprise.

Thanks again for another chapter!

35 posted on 05/16/2009 3:23:43 PM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: Publius
Where are Third World standards encroaching on our current infrastructure?

How about food production and distribution? It isn't so much third world as like shopping in the old Soviet Union. When I was a kid, you could get great cuts of delicious meat at the local butcher, bread and yummy donuts at the bakery, milk and cheese at the dairy - and this was in western PA.

There were also supermarkets springing up - bright and shiny with packed shelves and plenty of bargains. Eventually there were so many supermarkets, the little butchers and bakers and dairy stores disappeared.

It's been gradual, but I see supermarkets declining. The shelves are packed with boxes of processed stuff, but try to find a decent cut of meat, produce that doesn't look like crap or cheese that doesn't taste like plastic. Often things sell out and it is many days before it's restocked, or the products are way past their expiration date. I often have to go to multiple stores just to get all the groceries on my list. The stores seem dirty and there's never anyone who can answer a question (and you don't want to even see the people packaging meat in back or you won't want to touch the stuff!). I don't remember it being this way even 20 years ago. Is it just me, or is something happening to our food distribution?

36 posted on 05/16/2009 3:56:46 PM PDT by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: meowmeow
We've gone to standardization because of supermarkets.

Let me give you an example.

Once upon a time you could go to the store and buy tomatoes that were ripe, sweet and just perfect for some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic power and oregano -- along with some good crusty French bread. Then came standardization, and the tomatoes were hard, unripe, but of a standard size. If you put them in a plastic bag with some bananas, they would ripen properly, but otherwise, forget it. Today you have to go to a gourmet market or greengrocer to get "heirloom tomatoes" that cost an arm and a leg -- but they are ripe and edible.

You might actually get a better tomato in the Third World than America, though.

37 posted on 05/16/2009 4:41:08 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius

Well, I have my traditional two tomato plants in the Michigan ground for this season. But I had no idea that you should put store-bought tomatoes in a bag with bananas so they would ripen properly. It’s amazing what I’ve learned in this book club! Thank again.


38 posted on 05/16/2009 6:47:21 PM PDT by Mad-Margaret
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To: Publius

Or just grow them yourself. Careful though, Uncle Sugar is watching, and apparently none too happy that there are still a few things we can do without so much as a “by your leave” to the feds.


39 posted on 05/16/2009 6:50:20 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Mad-Margaret

Ethylene gas is what causes ripening, and bananas ripen so quickly that they give off excess ethylene. If you want something to ripen quickly, put it in a plastic bag with some bananas.


40 posted on 05/16/2009 8:30:00 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Still Thinking

Growing tomatoes is impossible for an apartment dweller in the rainy Pacific Northwest. But I have a gourmet market nearby that is having Heirloom Tomato Week starting Monday. I’ll be fixing up those tomatoes, adding some sweet Vidalia onion and some smoked salmon to go with the crusty French bread. Mm-mm-mm!


41 posted on 05/16/2009 8:32:42 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius
"Once upon a time you could go to the store and buy tomatoes that were ripe, sweet and just perfect for some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic power and oregano -- along with some good crusty French bread".

I'm sorry to say this Pub, because this will hurt you....being a part of the Jersey Diaspora........and knowing what a nasty reputation New Jersey has in the nation.....but here in South Jersey you can still go to a local farmers market and get sweet, juicy, tasty tomatoes and fresh basil and sweet white corn. In fact, I will pit the taste of Jersey Corn and Jersey Tomatoes against any fancy gourmet corn and tomatoes in the world. We may be a scum bag liberal hell hole but we have magic soil for growing these two items. In fact, I dabble a bit myself in the back yard garden.

And south philly Italian bread is still baked fresh daily on this side of the river also.

Remember ??

42 posted on 05/16/2009 9:36:07 PM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: mick
Oh, I remember. And I remember the corn and tomatoes and basil. My father grew 5 different kinds of basil in his back yard and a whole host of tomatoes, zucchini and peppers. The acid soil of South Jersey is good for a lot of things.

It's a bit different here, but we have farmers' markets, too.

43 posted on 05/16/2009 9:43:22 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Billthedrill
Dagny excerpt-
…but the straight line is the badge of man, the straight line of a geometrical abstraction that makes roads, rails, and bridges, the straight line that cuts the curving aimlessness of nature by a purposeful motion from a start to an end.

Billthedrill...
And yet the straight line is not really an artifact of man, but his imitation of the horizon. The horizon isn’t perfectly straight, of course, either in terms of curvature or of granularity, but then neither are the lines made by men. In this man is one with his world whether he likes it or not.

and...
The truly straight line is, as Dagny just said, an abstraction, an artifact not even of man’s mind if Immanuel Kant is to be believed, but an a priori concept that is one of the laws of the universe that form the foundation of Ayn Rand’s epistemology.

You've made me consider the significance of this concept and I am not sure I understand the implications. Is not a plumb line straight? Used from the very beginning of mans efforts to build, it describes a perfectly straight line and man has always striven to copy its perfection.
The pull of gravity is a summation of all the the relevant forces but it resolves into a natural axis that is able to be harnessed by mans mind. In fact all other axis are derived from it.

I read the chapter and attributed Dagny's take on this as a flaw in her reasoning, but as you pointed out a straight lines non-natural existence is part of the basis of Rands epistemology. Had Dagny stood on the tracks holding a plumb bob in front of her, would she have seen the natural source of the straightness of the rails?

Perhaps it's one of those times when I'm looking for something that isn't there but so far the logic used by Rand appears valid to me.

44 posted on 05/17/2009 7:34:50 AM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: whodathunkit

Or the surface of a body of water, except that’s actually ever so slightly spherical I would think.


45 posted on 05/17/2009 8:48:20 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Publius
Maintenance is what separates America from the Third World.

In any communal setting, if it's everybody's responsibility it's no one's responsibility.

46 posted on 05/17/2009 9:22:58 AM PDT by Monitor (Gun control isn't about guns, it's about control.)
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To: Billthedrill
I have issues with the likes of Francisco actively destroying d’Anconia Copper, and Ragnar Danneskjöld pirating and sinking ships.

Had the looters been left to their own devices (and consequences), I'd feel better about the whole thing. But to have otherwise productive people actively sabotaging the works kinda smacks of peeing in someone's pool and then declaring, "See? I told you swimming pools were filled with bacteria and filth."

I do agree that the looter's will eventually collapse the economy and society, but due to at least these two people that collapse won't be entirely the looter's fault.

47 posted on 05/17/2009 10:44:37 AM PDT by Monitor (Gun control isn't about guns, it's about control.)
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To: Monitor

Outrage and backlash provoked by the looters confiscatory policies can’t be attributed to the looters?


48 posted on 05/17/2009 12:17:42 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Publius

Sounded pretty good till you got to the smoked salmon part. I personally only smoke menthol salmons with the filter tip. Seriesly though, I don’t salmon or trout. Give me a snapper, roughy, or a hellofit, thanks.


49 posted on 05/17/2009 12:24:05 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: Publius

Or crab. Crab’s acceptable.


50 posted on 05/17/2009 12:24:50 PM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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